Freddie Mercury left Elton John beautiful gift in will: Knew death was coming

Freddie Mercury: Sister recalls last two weeks of his life

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Considered the greatest performer of all time, Mercury’s life is dramatised in the Oscar-winning film Bohemian Rhapsody, which airs from 9pm tonight on Film4. The biographical 2018 film follows Mercury, who is played by Rami Malek, and his upbringing in Seventies Britain, as well as the friendships he formed that helped create the band Queen. It shows how those relationships fostered the iconic group, culminating in their standout performance at Live Aid, and the fallout prior to the event.

While the film demonstrates Mercury’s incredible presence on stage, it also highlights his struggles away from the microphone.

He enjoyed being the centre of attention when it came to the glamour of the music industry, yet he would often keep his personal life away from the gaze of the public.

The star created a raft of friendships, with the likes of Princess Diana, David Bowie and Sir Elton, with the latter once detailing the agonising struggle his fellow performer went through.

Freddie sadly passed away in 1991 after complications with AIDS, cementing his already legendary status among music fans.

Speaking in Mark Langthorne and Matt Richards’ 2013 book Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury, Sir Elton said: “I’d seen what the disease had done to so many of my other friends.

“I knew exactly what it was going to do to Freddie. As did he. He knew death, agonising death, was coming.”

The pair’s relationship was close throughout Freddie’s life, with Sir Elton noting how the Queen frontman helped save his life while his own spiralled out of control due to drug abuse.

Freddie was among those in Sir Elton’s inner circle who begged him to attend rehab as he struggled with cocaine.

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When Freddie was on his deathbed, with only those closest to him allowed to visit, Sir Elton was given a limited amount of time to speak with his friend.

He continued: “He was too frail to get out of bed, he was losing his sight, his body was covered in Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions, and yet he was still definitely Freddie, gossiping away, completely outrageous.

“I couldn’t work out whether he didn’t realise how close to death he was or if he knew perfectly well but was determined not to let what was happening to him stop him being himself.”

And even after he passed away, Freddie still managed to give his friends a smile, including Sir Elton, who he sent a Christmas gift following his death.

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Sir Elton recalled how he opened his front door and found a gift wrapped in one of Freddie’s pillowcases.

The gift was a painting by one of Sir Elton’s favourite painters, Henry Scott Tuke, and inside it contained a note to his friend.

It read: “Dear Sharon, I thought you’d like this. Love, Melina. Happy Christmas.”

Sharon was Sir Elton’s fun nickname, while Melina was Freddie’s.

Sir Elton added: “By all rights, Freddie should have spent those final days concerned only with his own comfort. But that wasn’t who he was. He truly lived for others

“Freddie had passed on November 24, 1991, and weeks after the funeral, I was still grieving. On Christmas Day, I learnt that Freddie had left me one final testament to his selflessness.

“I was moping about when a friend showed up at my door and handed me something wrapped in a pillowcase. I opened it up, and inside was a painting by one of my favourite artists, the British painter Henry Scott Tuke. And there was a note on the front from Freddie.

“Years before, Freddie and I had developed pet names for each other, our drag-queen alter egos. I was Sharon and he was Melina.”

Sir Elton concluded: “I was overcome, 44 years old at the time, crying like a child. Here was this beautiful man, dying from AIDS, and in his final days, he had somehow managed to find me a lovely Christmas present.

“As sad as that moment was, it’s often the one I think about when I remember Freddie, because it captures the character of the man. In death, he reminded me of what made him so special in life.”

Bohemian Rhapsody airs tonight on Film4 from 9pm.

Sir Elton added: “By all rights, Freddie should have spent those final days concerned only with his own comfort. But that wasn’t who he was. He truly lived for others

“Freddie had passed on November 24, 1991, and weeks after the funeral, I was still grieving. On Christmas Day, I learnt that Freddie had left me one final testament to his selflessness.

“I was moping about when a friend showed up at my door and handed me something wrapped in a pillowcase. I opened it up, and inside was a painting by one of my favourite artists, the British painter Henry Scott Tuke. And there was a note on the front from Freddie.

“Years before, Freddie and I had developed pet names for each other, our drag-queen alter egos. I was Sharon and he was Melina.”

Sir Elton concluded: “I was overcome, 44 years old at the time, crying like a child. Here was this beautiful man, dying from AIDS, and in his final days, he had somehow managed to find me a lovely Christmas present.

“As sad as that moment was, it’s often the one I think about when I remember Freddie, because it captures the character of the man. In death, he reminded me of what made him so special in life.”

Bohemian Rhapsody airs tonight on Film4 from 9pm.

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